The world's tallest woman, Yao Defen, has died in her village in China aged 40, it has emerged.

Yao stood 7ft 8in tall (2.33 metres) and was listed as the world's tallest woman by Guinness World Records in 2010.

A newspaper in Anhui province claimed she had reached the height of 2.36 metres - pushing 7ft 9in - at the time of her death.

She reportedly died on the morning of 13 November in her hometown of Zhucheng, eastern China.

Her cause of death is unknown. She developed gigantism because of a tumour on her pituitary gland and was more than 6ft 6in tall by the time she was 15.

The tumour was removed in 2006 but grew again the following year and she continued to have health problems.

Yao collapsed in 2009 and was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with having a blood clot on her brain.

Reportedly the third tallest woman who ever lived, Yao weighed more than 30st stone (190kg) and had size 26 feet.

In a video in 2009, Yao expressed anguish at her height. She said: "I am very unhappy. Why am I this tall?

"If I were not this tall, others would not look at me like this."

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